The CAA responds
Post #743 • March 1, 2006, 4:01 PM • 27 Comments
CAA has been made aware of the webpage that you characterize as a parody of our conference blog. Given that the disclaimer is in small type at the bottom of your website and because you use the names of real individuals, to whom you attribute specific postings, some of which our authors may regard as embarrassing, disparaging or defamatory, it may not be clear to readers that your site is, or purports to be, a parody. For these reasons, we ask that you make your disclaimer clearer, place it at the top of the page and use fictive names for the blog entries themselves. CAA itself reserves all rights.
College Art Association
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New York, NY 10001
In light of your requests, I'd like to direct your attention to the Artblog.net post from which the parody was linked:
Readers described it as "brilliant" and "...incredibly funny, one of the best things I've seen in some time." That's my answer to "your site is, or purports to be, a parody." There's far more evidence for my page being a parody than for your organization being "committed to the highest professional and ethical standards of scholarship, creativity, connoisseurship, criticism, and teaching." Victims of the job portion of your annual conference have been complaining about it for years, and the most action the CAA has ever taken to improve it was to issue a weakly-worded policy statement in 2000 and, from what I've been told, to appoint a committee that has done nothing that I can discern. One of your posters on the CAA blog reported that people were being asked by interviewers about their age and their childbearing plans, which violates federal law, and you are complicit in that violation. That's leaving aside the unprofessional degradation that interviewees have been enduring since as long as anyone can remember. I've consistently found your publications to be long-winded, obtuse, obfuscatory, and incapable of serious judgment regarding art. You regularly give your art criticism award to people who are not art critics. So much for "highest professional and ethical standards."
With that out of the way, I have nothing against the individual authors and don't think it would injure the parody to use fictitious names. I already offered as much to Ms. Hamburger, via e-mail, although I have not heard back from her. They took part in a silly exercise but there's no reason they should be made to unduly suffer for it. Some of my readers are experts at anagrams and I will set them to work on it.
I'm not sure what you mean by making the disclaimer "clearer" - it already says "...none of [the authors] actually wrote these comments. This blog is a parody by Artblog.net." I can't make that any clearer. I doubt that I am under any obligation to move the position of my disclaimer, no matter what rights you reserve, but I will check with my lawyer out of courtesy to you. In the meantime, it disgusts me that you regard my parody as an actionable problem while the CAA blithely abuses its least priveleged constituents as an perennial practice. I continue to have nothing but contempt for your organization. Parody, even vicious parody, is less than what you deserve.